Through the NIAID Preclinical Services Program, researchers are evaluating compounds for antiviral activity against a panel of viruses, including West Nile virus (WNV). In 2011 and 2012, nine compounds were tested for activity against WNV in rodent models of disease, and 220 compounds were tested in vitro (in cell culture). Promising compounds will be further analyzed for safety and efficacy.
In 2011 and 2012, NIAID awarded six research grants to scientists studying small-molecular-weight compounds as potential antivirals to treat flaviviruses, including WNV. Other therapeutic approaches that are being investigated include
- Monoclonal antibodies that target WNV particles to inhibit spread of infection
- Monoclonal antibodies to target and destroy WNV-infected cells
- Broad-spectrum therapeutics for flaviviruses, including WNV
- Therapeutics that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier
- Identification of drug targets for viruses that infect the nervous system
Development of broad-spectrum immunotherapeutics, such as monoclonal antibodies or bi-specific antibodies, that target specific viral pathways.